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Commonwealth’s Attorney gets office space

by Larry S. Chowning

On July 1, Middlesex began being served by the first full-time commonwealth’s attorney in county history.

Early this year, the State of Virginia approved a request from newly-elected Middlesex Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Hurd to make his office a full-time position.

The position has always been part-time, which has allowed past commonwealth’s attorneys to run part-time private practices on the side. The full-time position will eliminate this opportunity.

On court days it is easy to see why Middlesex needs a full-time commonwealth’s attorney, said assistant county administrator Marcia Jones. The courtroom is abuzz and cars fill the parking lots in Saluda. “The county is growing and the legal cases have grown with it,” she said.

Jones also noted the full-time position will cost county taxpayers more. The State Compensation Board sets salary amounts for the commonwealth’s attorney and his secretary, and state funds cover half the cost.

The switch from part-time to full-time will raise the commonwealth’s attorney’s salary from $57,458 to $113,760, and the secretary will go from $11,255 to $31,396. 

The county, with the help of state funds, will provide an office in Saluda for Hurd and his secretary. At the board’s regular monthly meeting on July 15, supervisors voted to rent the “old Smither house” for three years at $800 a month as the new office. The house is located next to the new courthouse in Saluda.

Middlesex County Administrator Charles Culley explained that the plan has always been to locate the office in the new courthouse basement. However, this would take renovation and an office is needed now.

Culley noted the lease would give the county plenty of time to get office renovations done in the basement of the new courthouse.

In other matters at the July 15 meeting, the board of supervisors:

• Approved a “Watch for Children Sign” on Long Point Lane, which is Route 646 in Topping.
• Tabled action at the request of the landowner Gene Ruark on his application to rezone a 630-acre parcel from Low Density Rural to Residential in order to create Healy’s Mill Plantation subdivision.
• Denied consideration of an ordinance for the county to be involved in removing sunken boats from creeks. “This is just something else that is going to cost us money,” said supervisor Jack Miller. “It’s not our responsibility to remove boats. It’s the responsibility of the person who owns the boat.”
• Learned that the county’s proposed storm water management plan in connection with the construction of new airplane hangars at Hummel Field at Topping has been submitted to the state three times, but has not been accepted.

posted 07.24.2008

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